Reading ability declines between primary and secondary school

Welsh children’s relative reading scores drop when they turn 11


Reading ability in Welsh pupils deteriorates during primary school, according to new figures.


National standardised testing showed that when children were in year 2, 8.5% achieved the low standardised reading score of ‘less than 85’, but almost twice as many year 7 pupils also received that score – 15.9% got ‘less than 85’.

According to the BBC, these test results are not designed to assess pupils’ performance, but to compare different age groups. And the figures show that there is a marked decline in performance between year 2 and year 7.

It also found that boys scored lower than girls.

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: “This is a complex issue with a number of possible root causes, and it’s something that we will need to address further.”

The teaching union, National Union of Teachers Cymru told the BBC: “Certainly standardised testing, as a rule, fails to truly reflect the rounded abilities of children, which is one reason we have been opposed to this system.

“Feedback suggested that the content of the tests was difficult to understand and held little relevance to the lives of children in Wales.

“With that in mind it is hard to interpret if the results really are a true reflection of the abilities of students.”

The Welsh Conservatives’ shadow education minister Angela Burns said: “The noticeable decline in high reading and numeracy scores between primary and secondary school years reaffirms the need to bridge the gap by introducing a new middle phase, which could smooth the transition between schools.”

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